TV Photos
February 14, 2002, ABC Affilliate KESQ-TV, Palm Springs, reporter interviews missing persons investigator, Lori Carangelo, regarding missing child, Danielle Van Dam, and Lori's "Valentine Search" for the truth about what happened to her own daughter.


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Were you born VALENTINE'S DAY, Feb 14, 1968 ?
Is your Santa Barbara, CA Birth Certificate Number #396 ?
Did you have have black hair when you were born ?
Are you adopted, or do you suspect you are adopted ?

Suspicious Circumstances

Searchers told me my baby (reportedly a girl, perhaps a boy) was stolen or switched at birth for a stillborn infant on February 14, 1968 within 2 hours of birth. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital's medical records about the birth were withheld from my access as CA law permitted at the time. I obtained them 23 years later and was shocked to learn that they do not describe my baby who I saw close up, minutes after birth. The hospital had no explanation. The attending physician died in 1973, her records destroyed. Police refused to investigate. A newspaper story produced no leads. There's no grave, no DNA to test. There are at least 9 discrepencies in the hospital record, including physical description of the baby which conflicts with what I saw close up, plus absence of identifiers such as blood type, footprint, newborn photo, prenatal and post-natal heartbeat monitoring record, Xrays. etc.

The Search

Over the past 12 years, I had tracked down, spoken with, and eliminated every female born on February 14, 1968 at Cottage Hospital and in Santa Barbara County as possibly being my daughter. But there was a sealed birth certificate on Vital Records' 1968 roll of microfilm which eluded identification for several years. Only the local birth certificate number, #396, was displayed, on the microfilm, along with the 1972 delayed filing date, indicating an adoption. Although there were other sealed birth certificates in 1968, the fact that #396 was only 5 numbers away from my daughter's, #391 certificate, yet it wasn't filed until 1972, compelled me to try to find out who that record belonged to and the circumstances.

Leads Investigation

In early October, 2002, veteran adoption searcher, Luanne Pruesner, herself an adoptee, volunteered to assist my search without fee and said she was not interested in any reward in the event she might find my daughter alive. [A Link to Luanne's website is at the bottom of this page.]

Despite that other searchers had told me it would be "impossible" to find the adoptee I had been seeking, Luanne persisted and very quickly discovered her. We both felt that even if this adoptee was not my daughter, something was "not right.". Within hours Luanne informing me the adoptee's current identity is Deana M. Villegas, I was speaking with Deane by phone and established that she could not be my daughter. Deana was "born blonde," she says, and my daughter was born with thick black hair. We found that we shared many opinions on adoption issues and I began to have peace of mind that my daughter was probably NOT switched or stolen at birth--At least, I had left no stone unturned in my search.

More Loose Ends

Still a mystery, is the question of why my daughter's records do not match the baby I gave birth to, and why Deana birth certificate, indicating date of birth February 4, 1968, is filed out of sequence by 2 weeks. She says she never knew her father; that her mother remarried a year after her birth, and that her step-father then adopted her. She had searched for her biological father but was provided no information by anyone, even her mother. Yet, she says, when her biological father died, her step-father informed her about his obituary in the newspaper.

Falsification and secrecy of birth records in adoption, coupled with questionable accuracy of medical records, makes it easy for accidental and intentional "baby switches" and kidnappings to go undetected, even with today's safeguards for identifying which baby belongs to which mother. I have heard from many mothers whose babies reportedly died at birth but who question whether they may have actually been stolen, perhaps for black market adoption, because "something's not right." There have been many cases where the doctor did lie, telling the mother "the baby died" and decades later that "dead baby" turned upas a searching adoptee, much to the mother's shock. One highly publicized example is the Georgia Tann/Tennessee Home Society scandal involving over 5,000 stolen babies sold for adoption. A Link to Jo Anne Swanson, PI, and her Baby Theft cases is at the bottom of this page.

Depression from loss of a child that did die may continue for years. Unsolved cases where there is are unanswered questions, can prolong that grief for life.

Nowadays, some hospitals will permit the mother of a baby that died to see and hold that baby one last time, if she wishes, to "say goodbye and close it out ." I, like other mothers who continue to search for the truth, did not have that opportunity.

In none of the recent media attention to Amber Alerts for rescuing kidnapped kids, was there any concern for newborns and young children being kidnapped for black market adoption. How do we help prevent child theft for adoption? A few basic changes needed, for starters:

  o    Require uniform birth certificates in all states. There are now so many versions possible from state to state and even between state, county, hospital and baptismal birth records, that it's easy to fool authorties and the child as to the legitimacy of a child's parentage.

  o    Require that the infant or child be present when the court reviews petitions concerning "voluntary" relinquishments, termination of parental rights and petitions to adopt or otherwise transfer custody of a child.

  o    Immigration (INS) need to require stricter controls so that we know whether children who are being taken out of the country for foreign adoption are not kidnap victims.

  o    The United Nations and Hague Conferences need to be less concerned with diplomacy and more concerned with U.S. Dept. of State policy that kidnapping of foreign children is okay if deemed "in their best interests" to then be adopted under state secerecy laws.

  o    Take the money and profiteering out of family law matters, particularly adoption.

  o    Abolish adoption in favor of alternative forms of custody that are truly in child's best interests.


Los Angeles Times, front page. Orange - "State Medical officials said Saturday that St. Joseph Hospital did not inform them about newsly disclosed infant mix-ups and vowed to expand their investigation into practices at the maternity ward. Barbara McGowan, a state investigator for the Department of Health Services, said she was 'dumbfounded' to learn about the prior incidents, including one in which a mother breast-fed the wrong baby for 30 minutes....The action comes nearly a week after the hospital sent a newborn home with the wrong family on VALENTINE'S DAY, and a day after officials acknowledged three other infant mix-ups in the last year."

Carangelo v. Connecticut
A Case of Lifelong Opposition to Government Protected Child Stealing


Adopted Angels/Angel Moms

support for Moms of terminally ill & deceased children




Tons of Linked Resources!!


chronological excerpted newsclips,

"If you call the FBI office in the state you were born, they will send you a "Freedom of Information Act" form to fill out to see if they can place you with being a BLACK MARKET baby. This is all new to me. I have been searching for 22 years. I just heard of this. Hoping it will help someone else, too. Much love for your input and helping me. "
- Nancy Sharp Strong